Onema

Home - Mission - Manage the WIS-F and produce data

 

 

Improve knowledge on overseas aquatic environments

To meet the evaluation goals for water status set by the WFD, the necessary data must be available in the five French overseas departments (FOD). The data production and storage tools developed in continental France are available, but must first be adapted to the specific conditions in each FOD. The national framework for water data, for which the French government approved the action plan in July 2010, has planned the extension of the data system to the FODs.


On 22 March 2010, France sent to the European commission its report on WFD implementation. The data covered not only continental France, but also the FODs. The report made clear the difficulties in obtaining certain data. The audits carried out by Onema in 2010 inventoried the available data which varied depending on the local history and organisation. For example, Reunion has large quantities of hydrometric data since the beginning of the 1990s, whereas Guadeloupe has physico-chemical data since the 1980s. The audits also revealed significant difficulties. Some of the data required for the evaluation did not exist. This lack of data is essentially due to the absence of organisations or means for the local water policy (Mayotte) or to the difficulty in accessing the monitoring spots (Guiana), which resulted in delays in setting up the monitoring networks. In addition, some of the existing data may not be useable because they were not correctly documented when produced. Finally, the data are not always easy to incorporate in the national systems because the latter do not have the reference data or the production methods suited to the conditions specific to each FOD.

Governance and an action plan for the FODs

In order to establish a national water information system including the FOD data, the national framework for water data has planned a special system for the FODs, comprising two parts. The first is a governance system adapted to the local characteristics and the second is an action plan to produce standardised data nationwide, to launch the production of the missing data and to adapt the national systems for use by the FODs. Under these conditions, it is crucial to clearly define the role of the Water offices and the departmental environmental agencies. It is with all that in mind that efforts are now underway to prepare the system specifically for the FODs, that was recommended by the national framework and will be presented to the National water committee in November 2011 prior to final validation by the Ecology ministry. The action plan set up in conjunction with the system will serve to finish the work to create the overseas databases, to safeguard the historic data series and to regularly enter new data into the national WIS-F databanks, namely ADES for groundwater, Hydro for quantitative data on surface waters, Naiades for qualitative data on surface waters and Quadrige for coastal waters. The plan also includes the creation of bioindicators for coral and mangroves, and drafting of Aquaref (national reference lab for monitoring of aquatic environments) guides on the quality of data in a tropical context, on production methods, etc.
The overseas governance system and action plan will support current efforts in the FODs to meet the challenge of catching up with continental France, of evaluating the local water policy and of reaching good water status.

Contact: christian.jourdan@onema.fr

Back to Newsletter